As Rare Coin Sales go It doesn’t get much rarer than a 1870 S, $3 gold piece, one of only two minted. It was originally ordered by the San Francisco Mint superintendent and was intended to reside in the cornerstone of the U.S. Mint building in San Francisco. Originally, it is believed, there was to be only one coin struck but the first one became damaged somehow and so the second one became necessary.
It was found by a European tourist at a book shop in San Francisco. The coin was discovered in a hollowed out section between the glued pages of a keepsake souvenir book of San Francisco. At the time of its scheduled auction it was thought that it would sell for $4 million dollars.
Another rare coin, this time a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known, came up recently at auction. This particular coin has a history that sounds like it came out of a crime novel. It was struck at the Philadelphia mint in the latter part of 1912, but was illegally given a 1913 date. The Buffalo Nickel made its debut the following year in 1913. It is storied that a mint worker was suspected of creating the coin and adding the spurious date.
A collector from North Carolina, George O. Walton, bought one of the nickels in the 1940s for a sum of $3,750. The coin was among hundreds of coins that were with him when he was involved in a car crash and died on March 9, 1962. The nefarious nickel was found among hundreds of coins spread around at the crash, and is now said to likely be auctioned for millions.
Lastly, a rare 1796 Half Cent was found by the family of the owner who died in a climbing accident in 1963. This treasure that hid in a matchbox for over 50 years was found during some housekeeping by a family member of the deceased mountaineer. Of the original 1,400 Half Cent coins minted in Philadelphia in 1796 only a small number have survived and now one has been sold for $353,000 which adds up to 72 million times it face value.
It is exciting to think what fortunes may lay tucked away in a secret compartment or drawer somewhere and be among the next new found riches and rare coin sales.